Interview with Paul Larsen
Issue 5 (November 2009) As Travel Namibia goes to print, Paul Larsen is on the water at Walvis Bay attempting to break a world record in a sailing boat he designed himself.


What exactly is the sailing record you are after?

It’s the outright world speed record. It is timed over 500m, and for a long time it was held by kitesurfers. However, a French boat recently took the record, going at 60mph.

That must have hurt?

It’s good to have competition, but I have a love affair with this record. It feels very wrong that it is in someone else’s hands, so I am going to pursue it until we’re married!

What is your boat like?

It’s unique. It’s built solely to go very fast in a straight line, nothing else. It’s made out of carbon fibre, which is baked in an oven in a vacuum to make it incredibly strong.

What is it like to go that fast?

The 500m normally takes me 9.5 seconds, so it’s over before you realise it. It’s like riding a rocket – and that’s what the boat is called, The Sail Rocket. You have to point and shoot it, and then hang on!

Why Namibia?

I started doing this in the UK, but quickly got fed up with the weather. At Walvis Bay there is an amazing stretch of water with consistent wind, and I have it all to myself.

• Find out if Paul broke the record by going to

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